Cattle Ridge Walk: Rimutaka Forest Park: Wellington Day Walks

Wonderful views and stunning scenery await you on this delightful trail.

Looking for another place to walk in Wellington? Well check-out the Cattle Ridge walk in the Rimutaka Forest Park. Just a 45 minute drive from the city. This trek offers great views of the Wellington Harbour and Rimutaka Range. The Kaikoura’s to the south can be seen on a clear day, along with the cities highest peaks; Mt Victoria, Mt Kaukau, Belmont Trig and close by, Mt Matthews to the East.

Cattle Ridge is one of many walks in the Rimutaka Forest Park. The bush walking is stunning, with a nice mixture of native trees and plants. Beech is the dominant species with podocarps also present. The brown kiwi lives here, along with bellbirds, tui, kaka, kereru and ruru. Other wild life includes deer, goats and pigs.

The walk finishes on the popular Orongorongo Track. Allow 4 to 5 hours to complete the 12.90 kilometre circuit.

Orongorongo Track, Wellington Day Walks, Rimutaka Forest Park, Cattle Ridge Walk
Orongorongo Track

Route Description

From the Catchpool carpark, head along the Orongorongo Track for 15 minutes. This track is well graded and easy to follow. The Butcher and Cattle Ridge tracks are tramping tracks, which can be rooty and muddy in places, so a good pair of hiking boots is recommended.

Take the Butcher Track to the right. This climbs steeply offering great views of the Catchpool Valley, Wellington harbour and Kaikoura’s to the south. Allow 60 minutes for the ascent. Turn left at the junction and head north along Cattle Ridge. The ridge also has great views looking towards Wellington etc. and to the east, is the Orongorongo Valley and Mt Matthews. Mt Matthews is the highest peak in the Rimutaka Forest Park.

Travel is easy and the track eventually descents to the Orongorongo Track. Allow 90 minutes for this section. Turn right and follow the Orongorongo Track to the river, a nice spot for lunch, 15 minutes. There are toilets there too.

Return to the Catchpool carpark on the Orongorongo Track. As mentioned above it’s a well graded walking track and very scenic. Allow up to 2 hours for this section.

Getting There

The Catchpool Valley is reached from Wainuiomata. A 45 minute drive from Wellington City, follow the Coast Road for 10 kilometres south of Wainuiomata. The Rimutaka Forest Park and Catchpool Valley entrance is to the left. If you’re not familiar with the area look at the map below. Click on the map and drag until you see the roads, use the + or – button if needed.

There are camping sites here. For more information on facilities and camping fees, check-out Catchpool Valley Campsite.

For those that wish to extend their walk to an overnight trip, there are 6 DOC huts in the Orongorongo Valley. These are locked and only available by booking. They have great facilities including; gas cooking, crockery, pots and cooking utensils. Some of the huts have hot showers and flushing toilets. Click here for more information.

What to Take

Take plenty of food and water; there is nowhere to refill drink bottles on Cattle Ridge until the Orongorongo River. This is a bush walk with some spectacular views, so if the weather turns nasty you do have the protection of the bush. This is what I recommend you take:

    • Food and drink
    • Waterproof raincoat
    • Sturdy footwear
    • Warm clothing: thermals and fleece
    • Hat and gloves
    • Sunscreen and sunglasses
    • First Aid Kit
    • Map
    • Camera

For more information on what to bring check-out my blog on what to take hiking.

The Cattle Ridge Walk, Rimutaka Forest Park, Wellington Day Walks
Midway Bridge


To print the above map, click on at the top of the map. The printing and PDF option at the bottom of this page will print or download the post except the map. Once you’ve clicked on mapometer, the link will take you to the printing or export option. If mapometer asks for your location decline, otherwise it will take you to your location and not the above map. This map gives great information for getting to the start of the track, however it’s only a guide of the route, for more detail on the track click on the topomap below, and this can also be printed.

View Larger Topographic Map


Walking Times 

Expect some variation in times depending on conditions and personal fitness levels. I’ve graded this a medium walk as there are some steep climbs, the tracks are well defined and well-marked, the stream crossings are bridged and the duration of this walk is less than 6 hours. Whereas, a hard walk is one that is more than 6 hours, will have longer steeper climbs, have river crossings and requires good navigational skills.

Have a great walk and please leave a comment ?


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12 thoughts on “Cattle Ridge Walk: Rimutaka Forest Park: Wellington Day Walks

  1. I have to tell my friend about this as she lives in Wellington and enjoys tramping! I miss her and haven’t seen her in a while. It looks like a beautiful walk!

  2. Wow. The scenery is beautiful. I wanted to see this post because I am an avid hiker here in Utah and Wyoming. We don’t have views quite like yours. Our list of things to take would be about the same. Often I find I take too much, so that is a good reasonable list. As far as your map, everything here is in miles. How far is that 12.90 Km walk?

    1. Hi Elisa
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. 12.9 Km’s is 8 miles. Pleased to hear your “What To Take” list is similar. Taking extra is a good thing as long as its the right gear. We have a saying here in New Zealand – “you can get four seasons in one day” so going prepared is paramount for your safety.
      Happy hiking 🙂


  3. This is a good overview of the Rimutaka Forest Park. Its a place to consider when planning hikes, walks and just to observe nature and relax from the hassle of the city. Thanks much for this post

  4. Hi Rimutaka Forest Park looks amazing. I love place to walk which has a nice view. If I ever go to Wellington I would have a nice walk there. Thanks for great writing.

  5. Hi Murray,
    I’m relatively new to hiking, but have done the Mt Holdsworth day walks, Mt Kaukau, Colonial Knob and other misc walks like Onepoto track – I even did Mt Tongariro when I was a teenager. Do you think this walk would be good for someone new-ish to hikes? Alternatively, do you have any other suggestions?
    Thanks heaps 🙂

    1. Hi Mel
      Thanks for your message. Yes, Cattle Ridge is the ideal walk for someone getting into hiking. As per the route description, the climb up to Cattle Ridge is steepish. It’s a beautiful bush walk with stunning views. Let me know what you thought of it. Another lovely walk in the Rimutaka Forest Park is the Whakanui Track to Catchpool Walk, this is one of my favourite walks in the park. It’s a little longer but something you could build up too
      Have a great walk 🙂


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